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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What's Happening

In School

We have (another) new initiative - this time from the State - a two fold bureaucratic monstrosity that involves hours of useless grading and paperwork.  None of the grading or paperwork will help a single student, nor will it affect positively the time I am able to spend with my students during the day.  Here's the system:

  1. We have to give a diagnostic exam in the Fall, and then another follow up exam in the Spring.  
  2. The SLO, (student learning objective) will be written by the teacher predicting how much better the students will do on the exam in the Spring than they did in the Fall.
  3. The diagnostic exams are simple re-hashed state exams with little to no relevance to anything in the school world or the real world.
  4. Naturally, the grades were crushed during the grading of the Fall exams.  This ensures that the 'grades' for the Spring exams will be WAAYYY better than the Fall exams. 
  5. This will be touted as 'improvement' by the students and proof that the teachers are doing a great job.
Who loses? The students, as usual.  They lose days that could be going toward real information, and are instead inundated with more high stakes exams that do nothing but justify the jobs of highly paid bureaucrats in the state capital and in the district office.  Public education has become a dangerous farce.  The 'State', which has taken a once proud and effective public school system and run it off the rails, is now saying: "here's the new system, and trust us, this time it will work."  This is the crowd that, with the help of the NEA, destroyed whatever credibility they had with their education policies of the late 1960's and early 1970"s.  Here's the worst part.  Our new 'system' uses the Common Core Learning Standards.  This is the government's way of trying to fulfill the dream they've been having for the past 100 years - a one size fits all curriculum that will so totally dumb down the youth of America via a national standard.  As usual it is couched in verbiage like 'literacy' and 'standards' and other fancy eduspeak.  Nowhere will you hear about active literacy  and passive literacy, the trivium or the classic seven liberal arts.  Orwell would be proud, these state documents that dictate our 'system' are Newspeak to the core.  On a positive note, we all had a good laugh while going through the new state 'plan' - it is the little people, us, who understand the joke that all of this is.

Current Affairs 

The mainstream media is having a time with the 'fiscal cliff' chatter on the main networks and newspapers.  There is cognitive dissonance at its finest.  The government has created over $16 trillion in debt.  (The real number is much higher).  Now, it is expected to 'save' the financial straits of the country by - - spending more and cutting nothing.  The US gov't spend $10 billion a day, yet the politicians are bickering about tax levels and the inability to cut anything, at any time.  The problem is spending, yet spending cuts never seem to happen.  The only solution, possibly, is the day of reckoning when the well runs dry, and the government checks bounce, or the dollars are worthless due to reckless money printing by the FED.  The American people are half of the problem, as the huge majority of incumbent representatives were reelected in the House and the Senate - no changes made there.  There is an old quote about democracy - that it is the type of government where the people get the government they deserve.  Well, with the dumbing down of the American electorate, and the resulting charade that is the political scene, that quote seems more appropriate than ever.

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